📢 RICHARD APPLEBEE'S PLAN FOR DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION📢
My downtown development plan is based on a few basic ideas
1. Working with the property owners, business owners, and potential investors of our downtown buildings to build a solid framework of success for doing business in Seneca.
2. Working with the Village’s Comprehensive Plan and revising it where needed.
3. Working within the Village’s budget realities to achieve the appearance of our downtown which we desire.
My plan is based on building a framework of support for property and business owners. We need to provide assistance matching building owners with entrepreneurs and investors. We also need to clean up and rejuvenate the appearance of our downtown. We need to provide events and reasons for people to shop our downtown area to keep these businesses alive and profitable.
But we also live in a real world of harsh financial and business realities. To make our downtown attractive to investors and entrepreneurs who put their blood, sweat, tears, and money in to a successful business, we must not only make our downtown physically attractive but also financially attractive. We must build a foundation for success before we put up any facades of success.
✍️BUILDING A FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS
The first step in the process will be meeting with property owners of the vacant buildings to find out their intentions, desires, challenges and needs. During this time we will also meet with current business owners from the village to find out what makes them successful and what their challenges are and get their ideas and feed back
Village Code 1-6-3 (AKA “Office of Special Projects”) allows the Mayor form special project committees. We form an Economic Development Task Force which will include:
➖The business owners and property owners
➖People in the world of finance
➖Successful investors from the area
➖I would also invite a representative or two from the Port District, Plan Commission, and other community organizations
➖And we will find anyone else in the community that can add to discussion
Appointments to this Task Force will be for short periods of time to avoid asking for long term time commitments and to keep ideas fresh. This task force will take the data we gathered in our discussion with property and business owners and in conjunction with our Comprehensive Plan start developing the foundation of our framework of support for our businesses. They will also assist in matching property owners, business owners, and investors.
I would like to build the foundation of the Village’s economic development on a strong base of the owner/entrepreneur/investor/customer relationship.
Just as "a rising tide lifts all boats” each successful business we have will help the businesses around it. The only way to lasting prosperity is to build this foundation and support structure for our businesses
The first project we need to accomplish in our downtown is the available parking. I want to see the parking lot on Main St behind the Police Station completed as soon as possible. The Village also owns a parking area off of Armour St. and behind the buildings on Main St. that would be an excellent space to expand our parking as needed.
While we are doing foundational work we will start to set aside funds into our downtown fund for beautification improvements such as:
➖Picnic tables, benches, and a bike rack to the grassy area behind village hall
➖Painted crosswalks at our intersections
➖Signs and banners promoting the Village pride, our past, and our future
➖And other cosmetic improvements to our downtown as will be determined
We will create a list of priorities and we will complete these projects when enough funds become available. Given the realities of our budget, the best way to afford these cosmetic appearances is through a combination of grants and saving within the village budget.
I am staunchly opposed to the idea of using the Video Gaming Fund money to fund cosmetic developments downtown, especially before we have a firm economic foundation in place. The Video Gaming Fund money has been directed towards paying off our series 2016 bond for the next 8 years by a unanimous vote of the Council. An examination of our village funds shows we simply have no other monies to pay off that bond in that period of time.
➖If I am Mayor we will form a Special Project Economic Development Task Force.
➖The Task Force, using the data and information we gather, will build a framework of support for our business owners to succeed in Seneca.
➖We will build the foundation for that framework on matching property owners, entrepreneurs, and investors.
➖We will provides events and attractions to help introduce or re-introduce our businesses and community members helping to spur the customer/business relationship
➖At the same time we will work within our budgetary realities to save for and accomplish our beautification goals.
💪Working together🤜🤛 we can accomplish our goals and revitalize our downtown district. Once again the phrase “A rising tide lifts all boats” applies.
Thank you for time and please don't forget to vote April 2nd, 2019. I look forward to being your next mayor and every vote counts.